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The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Interpol issued a “red notice” Wednesday for the arrest of billionaire and Communist Party critic Guo Wengui, but gave no details of his alleged crimes.
“What we understand is that Interpol has already issued a ‘red notice’ for criminal suspect Guo Wengui,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters.
The comments came as VOA’s Mandarin service interviewed Guo Wednesday. Guo had previously said he would provide details during the interview about Chinese leaders. He said earlier this week he had received threats from Chinese agents warning him against doing the interview.
Guo has made allegations of massive corruption within the highest levels of the Communist party and has been keeping out of the public view for the past three years. On Twitter, he dismissed the allegations from China, calling the red notice “suicidal behavior coming from truly corrupt officials who fear I will expose their crimes.”
“This will only strengthen my determination to fight these bad guys until the end. Everything is just getting started,” he added.
An Interpol red notice is described on the organization’s website as a “request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition.” It is not legally binding and countries are free to act on the notice at their own discretion.
Guo has sent tweets over the past month indicating he was in both the U.S. and Britain. Neither of the countries hold extradition agreements with China.
The South China Morning Post, which first reported the red notice, cited anonymous sources claiming Guo is suspected of paying millions of dollars in bribes to disgraced former state security vice-minister Ma Jian, with whom he has been linked.
Chinese officials had expressed concerns to VOA about the interview before it took place but declined repeated offers to rebut his claims during or after it aired. In the past, Guo has made allegations of secret businesses controlled by senior Chinese leaders or their families. He outlined more details in Wednesday’s interview, which have not yet been substantiated.
Guo, who spoke live to VOA for an hour, suggested that the Interpol notice for his arrest was politically motivated and aimed at preventing the interview.
On Twitter, he dismissed the allegations from China, calling the red notice “suicidal behavior coming from truly corrupt officials who fear I will expose their crimes.”
Guo revealed that he, not unlike other businessmen originating from China, maintained a relationship with the State Security Bureau, an organ responsible for espionage and the monitoring of Chinese citizens overseas. He said the Security Bureau would lend support to his business undertakings while tasking him with gathering information and reaching out to dissidents abroad as well as the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.
Guo says he has met the Dalai Lama “several times” and has in his possession a copy of a letter the Dalai Lama had written to President Xi Jinping and Meng Jianzhu, who presides over the party’s powerful Political and Legal Affairs Committee.
Before the interview, VOA had announced on its Chinese-language website that Guo would reveal “nuclear-grade” information in the planned three-hour interview, which was to be broadcast live during one of its regular TV programs and continued on social media.
Chinese officials had contacted VOA journalists expressing concern over the planned interview and urged it be canceled.
VOA management decided to proceed with the live interview, broadcasting one hour live and then taping the rest and publishing additional reporting on the interview afterward, said VOA spokeswoman Bridget Serchak.
“We had multiple plans to conduct additional interviews with the subject for social media and late yesterday [Tuesday] made the editorial decision to record this material, edit, and post it in the coming days,” she said.
“In a miscommunication, the stream was allowed to continue beyond the first hour. When this was noticed the feed was terminated. We will release content from these interviews and will continue to report on corruption issues,” she said.